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Know the West

Author Craig Childs talks about his 'barbaric' children with KDNK

In the Alaska backwoods, Childs tested the boundaries of the belief that kids should play in the wilderness.


When Craig Childs took his children to Alaska for a canoe trip deep into the wilds, he faced considerable skepticism from the adults around him. But when he'd traveled without them, he got an unfriendly reception when he got home. In an essay for High Country News, he writes: "Whenever I traveled in Alaska without my two young boys, I never heard the end of it. My youngest, even when he was 3, would be outraged. How could I leave them at home for this one? What kind of parent was I trying to be? My job was to bring them inside my life, guiding them through the rooms of my own landscape. They didn’t have to know the weight of my concern for their welfare. Our task as adults was to bring them here and get them out alive." Hear him talk about his unusual approach to child-rearing in his interview with KDNK.

An annelid worm Will wanted to put down his sister’s shirt.
Craig Childs